Let me share something with you about APOLOGIES.
As a result of mediating conflicts with people ranging in age in the Juvenile, Magistrate, and Superior Courts of Metro Atlanta, Georgia, I've come to understand why some find it difficult to apologize after conflict has wrought havoc, especially in relationships near and far despite subsequent hurt and/or damages.
#1. Apologies are for behavior not feelings. Meaning you are entitled to your feelings, and you don't have to apologize for how you feel. However, you are not entitled to behave in certain ways as a result of those feelings, especially, when you intend to harm another person or property. For example, in certain situations it is expected that you would experience feelings of anger, however, your resulting behavior- how you physically react or respond can cross the line into offense when you harm another person or property.
#2. Feelings are a reaction response, voluntary or involuntary. You develop feelings in response to stimuli that can be influenced by perception. You can change/adjust your feelings based on desire and time, even intent, prior to acting out on the basis of those feelings. Which leads us to behavior, the action.
#3. Behavior is the decision upon which you put into action. It is here where the true essence of an apology resides. It is here, in action, aka. behavior, that insult and injury are made manifest and the limitations of your feelings exist at the beginning of another person's property and person. Behavior DOES INCLUDE the VERBAL EXCHANGE between two parties. Unfortunately, it is here, in behavior, that the apology is applicable to wrong decision-making, not the basis for the decision.
In conclusion, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT APOLOGIES THINK BEHAVIOR, NOT FEELINGS.